Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park - Chicago

We won't go into the difficulty we had finding the parking garage for our hotel, Club Quarters on Adams, but it was enough to make us miss the guided tour of The Lurie Garden with the rest of the garden bloggers. We had our GPSr, which was helpful in getting us downtown from the Chicago Botanic Garden, but with all the tall buildings downtown, it sputtered.

With a little luck, we found it and then got checked into our hotel. We walked the short distance to Millennium Park, where we took the requisite photos of Cloud Gate, a modern sculpture by Anish Kapoor more affectionately known as The Bean. I'd seen it before, but it's an awesome piece of work that always makes me smile.

The Crown Fountain, which is actually two waterfall fountains, is fun too.

A band was playing in the Pritzker Pavilion and if we hadn't had a schedule to keep, I would have liked to have heard more of whoever it was.

The Lurie Garden sits on 5 acres and was commissioned in 2000 and completed in 2004. It was designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel, with Oudolf responsible for the perennial planting design.

As we walked into the garden, the sea of shades of purples brought out oohs and ahhs and we worked our way around it, taking it all in from many different angles, each of them stunning.

We left by way of the Nichols Bridge to The Art Institute of Chicago, which was celebrating the opening of their new Modern Wing. Grant Wood's
American Gothic is housed here, we found out later. No time to do a museum visit, but a quick trip through the gift shop left me wanting an art piece that some way, somehow, someday, I will have.

The Art Institute has lovely gardens of its own, both north and south, and we walked through the north one on the way back to our hotel. Here we saw a truly black iris.

This small garden has within it an Alexander Calder sculpture, entitled Flying Dragon. It sits at the end of a large bed of various grasses that created a sea of softness.

Flying Dragon by Alexander Calder

Large alliums were used here, as they were in many of the gardens we saw this weekend, and they lined one side of the grassy area.

A couple of blocks away, near our hotel, is another Alexander Calder sculpture,
Flamingo, which was presented to the city in 1974. I was fascinated by the splash of color it made against the formal black and steel of the modern business buildings surrounding it. This sculpture is a classic example of constructivism, which is a sculpture consisting of small pieces that are joined together.


Chicago was celebrating "Free Hug Friday"
! :-)

Friday night's Spring Fling reception!


Colleen Vanderlinden said...

What gorgeous photos, Kylee! Thanks for sharing the ones of the Calder sculptures, too. I do like the way Flamingo looks against the building behind it--really striking.

The Lurie Garden looks just amazing. Looking forward to the rest of your posts!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Great photos Kylee, can't get enough of that river of salvia. Love the poppy in the sea of purple.

Diana said...

I had no idea how much trouble you had getting to the Lurie, but I've certainly been through that. You feel like a rat in a maze, don't you, with all those skyscrapers? Glad you made it and took such great photos. Pam and I toured the Art Institure garden, too, and loved it.

Frances said...

Hi Kylee, so sorry you missed Colleen telling us about the plants and building of the Lurie gardens. She was a great speaker and her enthusiasm was contagious. We also loved the juxtaposition of the skyscrapers and the prairie. At one point, there was music from one end and opera at the other while we were there. It just doesn't get any better!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wow, your photos make me feel as though I were there (HA HA!). I love Millennium Park and the Lurie Garden--I went three times during the last visit alone. Thanks also for the tip on the black irsies at the Art Institute--I had missed them on Thursday (I don't think they were open) but saw them on Sunday.

Gail said...

I loved the Lurie and I was certainly oohing and ahhing over the incredible rivers of salvia, grasses and other sun loving perennials. Layanee and I found the Art Institute's garden and were equally captivated by the black iris...Did you see how beautifully it looked with the red poppy?

I am back there now looking at your lovely photos. gail

Cathy S. said...

Hi Kylee,

Sorry I missed you on the spring Fling, Hopefully next time.
I have an award for you so please stop by my blog. Thanks.


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

That second Calder is in front of the Federal Courthouse, where they held the sensational mob trials and the infamous Graylord corruption trials. I'm sure of the connection between the two. I'm glad you discovered the gardens at the Art Institute. Did you see the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Laredo Taft?

Jane Doe said...


I'm a fellow northwest Ohio gardener, blogger, and novice photographer. I found your blog looking for other Ohio garden blogs via good Ole Google. I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in gardening and at the moment your adventures in Chicago. What a great city!

Pam/Digging said...

Diana and I admired that black iris too. I'll have a couple of pics from the Art Institute garden up tomorrow. So many gardens, so many photos, so little time!

Sarah said...

Jaw dropping and tongue hanging out seeing these pictures of the Lurie garden. Wow.
Plus all the great sculpture. I love Calder.

Really want to go to Chicago now. What a great excursion that must have been.

beckie said...

What a treat to meet you and your delightful Mother. It amazes me how many things are being posted that I missed-like the black iris. But it was a wonderful weekend full of great times, heavenly food and super phot ops!

Rose said...

Kylie, for missing the beginning of the Lurie tour, you certainly managed to take in a lot of the area. The Lurie made quite an impression on me, but I didn't take the time to visit the gardens around the Art Institute nor did I see the Calder sculptures. Thank you for sharing these! It's been a long time since I've been downtown Chicago, and I was so impressed with all the greenscapes in the city. A weekend just wasn't enough to see everything!

VW said...

That sage is so gorgeous in the Lurie garden. Thanks for posting so many views of it! It takes my breath away.

Nutty Gnome said...

It looks like you had a great time in Chicago - all those fantastic gardens and sculpures framed by that wonderful skyline! Lucky you!:)

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Love that black Iris, it's gorgeous. The Lurie garden is something that I've heard and read lots about but it was great to see more pics of it. Thanks!

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